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Open 24 Hours

screenshot of upwork website post calling for 24 freelance videographers

Open 24 Hours

November 12–December 31, 2020

This project is part of Immaterial Architecture (online), a series of new projects for the screen-space commissioned by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and curated by Yan Wu.

Through Upwork, an American virtual platform connecting freelancers and clients, artist Jon Sasaki commissioned 24 videographers from around the world to produce a one-hour self-portrait at a fixed fee of $100 USD. The resulting 24 videos are viewable around the clock by anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection.

The life of a freelancer can be difficult and precarious at the best of times, and for many, made even more challenging under COVID-19. Many of the hired contributors live in countries that do not have a CERB-like safety net for gig workers, so the project was, in part, guided by the artist’s desire to direct money towards them. Although the job description was intentionally left open to wide interpretation, it did make clear the videographers were free to produce their contributions in as little as one hour, thereby pocketing a decent $100 USD per hour wage. Yet as the videos demonstrate, most expended a great deal more time, effort and emotional labour, for reasons that we can sometimes deduce through careful viewing of their work. Through this commissioning project we can peer through 24 little keyholes as freelancers show us what is important to them.

The videos have not been edited by the Art Museum, all opinions and subtitles are those of the freelancers.

About the Artist:
Jon Sasaki is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist who explores concurrent streams of inquiry that intertwine in surprising ways. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at The Esker Foundation, (Calgary, AB); The Richmond Art Gallery (Richmond, BC); The Rooms (St. John’s, NL); and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON). Sasaki has participated in recent group exhibitions at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul, South Korea); The Bentway (Toronto, ON); The Canadian Embassy in Japan (Tokyo); and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto, ON). Sasaki holds a BFA from Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB) and is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto.

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council with additional project support from the Ontario Arts Council Culturally Diverse Projects grant.